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90 days not enough for Planned Parenthood to open in new location

The Muskegon County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to end their lease agreement with Planned Parenthood of Michigan. Eviction from the county's health department building is expected in 90 days.
Credit: 13 ON YOUR SIDE

MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — The Muskegon County Board of Commissioners voted 6-2 Tuesday night to end their lease agreement with Planned Parenthood of Michigan.

The decision ends a lease for space inside the county's health department building at 209 E. Apple Ave. Commissioners told Planned Parenthood the space must be vacated in 90-days. 

The Planned Parenthood center in Muskegon does not offer abortions.

It's been leasing space inside the health department since 2010. The lease termination has leaders at Planned Parenthood Michigan scrambling to find an alternative site.

"We thought that the health department and the Board of Commissioners shared our desire to make sure patients had access to health care and it's disappointing to find out that we are wrong," said Angela Vasquez-Giroux, Director of Communications and Media Relations Planned Parenthood Michigan.

 Vasquez-Giroux says Planned Parenthood health centers have specific build out requirements, need to meet zoning rules, and must have lab space. It makes finding the right location difficult. Angela Vasquez-Giroux says 90-days is not sufficient time to open the Muskegon health center somewhere else.
"The big take-a-way is that you can't just slid into some office space and it's fine, it's not," she said. "We have had seven or eight days to prepare for this as a possibility and that simply not enough time."

Any new location will not be open by the time the health center inside the county health department closes.

"If everything aligned perfectly our patients would still have a significant and extended gap in services, and that's the real impact of this vote," said Vasquez-Giroux.

The Muskegon County Health Department told commissioners it would use the vacated space to expand the county's STD/HIV services.

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